Σ΄ ένα κόσμο χωρίς μαγεία, χωρίς πίστη, χωρίς ελπίδα, χωρίς θεό και μοναδική αλήθεια, σε ένα κόσμο χαώδη και κατακερματισμένο, πώς μπορεί η ιστορία να είναι ή να φαντάζει επική; Ούτε και να καμώνεται μπορεί. Στη νεότητά της η ιστορία υπήρξε επική. Τώρα όμως στην ωριμότητά της δεν μπορεί παρά να είναι ειρωνική, σαρκαστική, σχετικιστική, τραγική. Ίσως οι επικοί τρόποι να ξανακάνουν την εμφάνισή τους στη σκηνή της ιστοριογραφίας όταν φουσκώσουν και πάλι τα πανιά των οραματισμών και το ποτάμι της δικαιοσύνης κυλήσει ορμητικό, όταν οι άνθρωποι πιστέψουν στις δυνάμεις τους και εκφράσουν τη συλλογική σκέψη και δημιουργικότητά τους, όταν κατορθώσουν να λυτρωθούν από το άγος και το άχθος του παρελθόντος, όταν η ουτοπία αρχίσει να θαμποχαράζει.



«Η ιστορία μπορεί να μας βοηθήσει. Μπορεί, επίσης, να είναι πολύ επικίνδυνη. Είναι περισσότερο σώφρον να αντιμετωπίζουμε την ιστορία όχι ως σωρό νεκρών φύλλων ή συλλογή σκονισμένων έργων τέχνης, αλλά ως μικρή λίμνη, μερικές φορές ευεργετική, συχνά θειούχο, που, χωμένη κάτω από το παρόν, διαμορφώνει σιωπηλά τους θεσμούς μας, τον τρόπο που σκεπτόμαστε, το τι μας αρέσει και τι δεν μας αρέσει. Απευθυνόμαστε σε αυτήν [....] για επιβεβαίωση, για να πάρουμε μαθήματα και πληροφορίες. Η επιβεβαίωση, είτε πρόκειται για προσδιορισμό της ταυτότητας ομάδων, για αιτήματα ή για δικαίωση, σχεδόν πάντοτε προκύπτει από τη χρήση του παρελθόντος. [...] Το παρελθόν μπορεί να χρησιμοποιηθεί σχεδόν για όλα τα πράγματα που θέλουμε να κάνουμε στο παρόν. Κάνουμε κακή χρήση του όταν δημιουργούμε ψέματα για το παρελθόν ή γράφουμε την ιστορία με τρόπο που να παρουσιάζεται μόνο η δική μας άποψη».

Margaret Macmillan, Χρήση και κατάχρηση της ιστορίας, μετάφραση Μίνα Καρδαμίτσα – Ψυχογιού, Ινστιτούτο του Βιβλίου – Α. Καρδαμίτσα, Αθήνα 2012, 11 [πρώτη έκδοση στην αγγλική γλώσσα 2009]


«Σ’ έναν κόσμο γεμάτο αβεβαιότητες η ιστοριογραφία μπορεί να κινηθεί προς απρόβλεπτες κατευθύνσεις». Georg Iggers.


«Προχωρήστε και να ξέρετε ότι σ’ ένα όχι και τόσο μακρινό μέλλον θα ανοίξουν και πάλι οι πλατιοί δρόμοι μέσα από τους οποίους θα βαδίσει ο ελεύθερος άνθρωπος για να χτίσει μια καλύτερη κοινωνία». Σαλβαδόρ Αλιέντε.


«Ο θάνατος ταιριάζει στα μουσεία. Σε όλα τα μουσεία, όχι μόνο σ’ ένα Μουσείο Πολέμου. Κάθε έκθεση –πίνακες, γλυπτά, αντικείμενα, μηχανήματα- είναι μια νεκρή φύση και οι άνθρωποι που συνωστίζονται στις αίθουσες, γεμίζοντάς τες και αδειάζοντάς τες σαν σκιές, εξασκούνται στη μελλοντική οριστική διαμονή τους στο μεγάλο Μουσείο της ανθρωπότητας, του κόσμου, όπου ο καθένας είναι μια νεκρή φύση. Πρόσωπα σαν φρούτα που κόπηκαν από το δέντρο και τοποθετήθηκαν γερτά πάνω σ’ ένα πιάτο».

Κλαούντιο Μάγκρις, Υπόθεση αρχείου, μετάφραση-σημειώσεις Άννα Παπασταύρου, Καστανιώτη, Αθήνα 2017, 10


Δευτέρα, 27 Αυγούστου 2018

Χαιρετισμός Γιώργου Κόκκινου στο συνέδριο της Heirnet- 31 Αυγούστου 2018


Ιόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο
Κέρκυρα


In the era of post-modernity, we can distinguish between two main forms of tragedy in History: in the first case, a historical tragedy is defined as the antinomy between two worlds that seem unbridgeable and irreconcilable. These are worlds that are self- referring and partial, allowing neither the revocation of their partiality, nor the composition of ideas and values. They are concrete, frontal and value-segregated worlds that trap the individual or collective historical subjects in a limited range of perspective, which cannot be enlarged or escaped from. A typical example of this first form of historical tragedy is the conflict between Creon and Antigone, where neither of the two adversaries can consider understanding each other; especially as the arguments of both are given a regulative dimension and an ecumenical significance. 

This commitment in a single-dimensional frame of thought results, in Weberian terms, in an ethics based on will-conviction and not on responsibility, while the agent is accountable to a higher principle, beyond itself, outside of itself and irrelevant to the causality of the meaning of the subject’s actions. When this occurs, the tragedy is inscribed, in a way, on the “corporality of memory”, on the experience of trauma that cannot be lifted and in this way constructs the epicenter of our individual and collective identity. A situation like this can be described with the term: “tragic conflict”. If however, this is the case, how can repentance or even forgiveness be possible? For the ethical thinking of Kant, the transcendence of this tragic antithesis is impossible. Although, in the case of Hegel’s dialectics, this transcendence is not unnatural, unethical or utopic, because in his philosophical system, justice can be perceived as an exceedance and a new synthesis, therefore repentance and forgiveness can be perceived as factors that could end an eternal and unnecessary conflict. In this way, tragedy can be overcome, when a path out of the identity and the experience of trauma can be forged, while the two terms of “the self and the other” are redefined. This reduction begins with the “personal wisdom” of the search for an advantageous and dignified solution for both conflicting parts.

If there is a comparative value in the mention of “pessimist anthropology” and ethical philosophy of Dostoyevsky, then we can assume that the person-perpetrator “if capable of a great error, can be proven capable of a great atonement”, as noted by Kostis Papagiorgis. A basic perquisite for repentance and forgiveness is the discovery of a common language between perpetrator and victim and the detection of a possibility of coexistence. These are processes that do not require the historical amnesia, in order for the self-image of the perpetrator to be restored, nor his constant “self-flagellation” for the satisfaction of the victim. On the contrary, they require a mutual permanent compromise that is not considered as a simple coexistence of two opposite worlds, but as a pre-stage of transcendence and synthesis. This desirable, but rather ideal, development does not abolish the need for historical understanding or the singularity of the perpetrator and in no case cancels his disgraceful actions or the indirect deliverance of historical justice. In other words, justice does not lose its self-efficiency by merging with the ethical demand for repentance and forgiveness. As pointed out by Paul Ricoeur, this process is in it’s a essence a “semantic shock” or a radical “exercise of fantasy” that has the power to disrupt the monolithic narrations of both the perpetrator and the victim, without really being able to terminate diversity in itself or formulate the frame of a new memory. However, it is possible, under certain terms, to create a multi-dimensional and multi-prismatic narration that will question the partial viewpoints and create the background for a fruitful dialogue and the respect for the common binding conventions.

As mentioned before, historical tragedy can appear in another form that points to an irreparable and unhealed traumatic experience, making the process of forgiveness and reconciliation almost unthinkable. The Holocaust (but not only) constitutes an emblematic example of this. In those cases, the victims are unable to cross the conceptual boundary of the traumatic experience, which coincides in its essence with the core of their existence and their identity. As a result, the victims cannot approach historical time in a multi-dimensional level and tend to formulate conventional narrations of an instrumental and self-referring character. In other cases, the successors of the victims construct perceptions that compensate for the inability of the victims to defend themselves, amassing a great deterring power, but also imposing policies that resemble those of the perpetrator, with the core of their identity focusing on trauma. It is obvious that in those cases, every conversation about the triptych “repentance-forgiveness-reconciliation” is rendered pointless and unnecessary. It is also obvious that the “religionization” of traumatic memory results, without a shadow of a doubt, in the adaptation of an ethical interpretation of History, in the frame of which, the duty of memory, the commitment not to forget and the obligation of a constant reminding of the traumatic experience, in the present and in the future are of the utmost importance.

In the opinion of Ricoeur and Abel, this second form of historical tragedy can be revoked when the exaggerated memory of the victims and their successors gives its place to “just memory” and “constructive oblivion”. Only these can rid us of the curse and the burden of History allowing for the “blunt” and suspended historical creativity of the people to find ways of expressing itself towards the cause for global justice and the emancipation and prosperity, without however pretending that it is possible for a full amendment of the wrongdoings and the healing of the trauma of the past. In my opinion, this is the case of Argiris Sfoudouris, a survivor of the Massacre of Distomo (10/06/1944), for whom “the clock of morality still points at 1944”. In the case of Argiris Sfoudouris, the traumatic past is transformed into a constant present, exactly because every attempt of the modern German society to complete the processes of mourning for the Nazi crimes in Greece that would allow for a just memory and the reconciliation collides with the denial of guilt and the assumption of collective responsibility. In this way, the primary trauma of the survivors and the secondary trauma of their successors via post-memory become deeper, as within them the seeds of a “rightful hate” and resentment are allowed to grow, shaking the psychological balance of the perpetrator community. Looking behind the unyielding horizon of this victim-perpetrator relationship, Argyris Sfoudouris demands the deliverance of historical justice and in this way breaks the unending circle of insular resentment that envelops almost self-righteously, within the wounded self, deducing the historical justice and trauma into an irreversible destiny. His legal and ethical activism is the result of an active ethics and memory that is transformed from literal and specific, into exemplary and ecumenical. 

His activism is centered on the axiomatic belief that denial or the cover-up of individual guilt, repentance and the undertaking of political responsibility for the collective expiation and the atonement of shame inevitably results, for the societies in an eternal rotation around the wheel of violence, the alienation of the society-perpetrator, but also in the continuation of resentment and the breakdown of the self-image of the society-victim. In my opinion, the standpoint of professor Emmanuel Dretakis is quite identical. Dretakis’ father, a lawyer from Irakleio, Crete, was arrested in the “Great Blocking” of 1943 and exterminated in the force-labor camp of Ebensee, a satellite camp of Mauthausen, in the 28th of April 1945, just days before the camp’s liberation. Mr. Dretakis, a carrier of post-memory, does not linger on the loss and trauma, but believes that “the preservation of the memory of the victims is essential, in order for such crimes to be prevented in the future”. However, especially in the case of Argiris Sfoudouris, what I find as particularly encouraging is that the sorrow for the denial of historical truth and the continuation of historical injustice does not result in a blind and pointless resentment, nor does it result in the support of the ethno-populist idea of the collective guilt of the German people. As Sfoudouris himself points out, such a viewpoint, besides the fact that it corresponds to the Nazi principle of mass retaliation, would constitute an unacceptable reverse racism towards the perpetrator and his descendants and therefore negate the process of emancipation derived from the victim’s conscience. Contrary to that, Argiris Sfoudouris urgently searches for the activation of memory, the redeeming outcome of the recognition of historical truth and the formal expression of remorse on the part of the German state, through the establishment of measures of ethical, symbolic and economic compensation. However, Sfoudouris refuses to forgive, in the same way, many other Holocaust survivors refuse to forgive, believing that this forgiveness would be either untrue or impossible.

Tsvetan Todorov concludes to a similar approach, by referring to the necessity of the transition, from the “haunted” world of “literal memory” of trauma, to the broader horizons of an ecumenical “exemplary memory”, where the victim of the injustices of the past strives to stop the turning of the wheel of violence, resentment and revenge. In a case like this, the identity of the victim is partially reshaped to together with his historical conscience. This transformation lays the foundations for both the self-liberation from the duty to remember and the ethical commitment for a better world.
The critique exercised by certain circles on Todorov’s opinions points out the endorsement of exemplary memory and its relation to the dangers of a direct reinstatement of an exemplary historical conscience (Joern Ruesen), where memory and trauma are not exhausted in the past, but constantly unravel and extend in the present and future, as they transform in a “principle of action” and an ethical frame of perceiving the historical time, in order to avoid similar traumatic experiences. In this way, they believe that history endorses the role of the “teacher of life”, while presuming the unalterable character of human nature. Without such a meaning, it would have been possible, according to the argumentation of Mudrovic and Reinhart Koselleck, to formulate the principle of indefeasible crime against humanity that now rules over the international law.

From his point of view, Abel believes that the idea of repentance, public apology and what is more, forgiveness contradicts the “inflation” of oblivion of the modern mass democracies and the abundance of traumatic memory that characterizes the post-modern societies. Abel speaks of a third pole, a new conceptual web, an “eminent historical act” that opposes the commonality of deliberate oblivion and the constant mental repetition of the traumatic experience. Within this third pole, the glorified coexists with the traumatic, the hero with the martyr, the perpetrator with the victim, the normality with the absurd and the continuity with the rupture. It is the coexistence of the past generations that slowly disappear and the new ones that perpetuate, the sorrow, but also the expectation of redemption.

Elizabeth A. Cole argues that at around the end of the first decade of the 21st century, we possessed a sufficient ethical, theoretical, conceptual and gnostic background, together with the proper legal amenity to finally deal with traumatic memory and achieve the transcendence of segregating lines of conflict and especially the consequences of marginal events of the past (torture, mass rape, civil conflict, the loss of sovereignty, ethnic cleansings, genocide, the Holocaust, the use of nuclear arsenal).

Even though violence is an ontological aspect of human existence and besides the fact that according to the reasonable claim of Ian Kershaw, “the dept of the crimes of such magnitude against humanity can never be paid off”, there is the possibility that the reason why the struggle for the hegemony of the culture of dialogue, repentance and forgiveness can guarantee the unity, coherence and peace.
It is therefore obvious that among the complicated processes of self-cleansing, we cannot do without the activation of the mechanisms of delivering justice, which, as noted by the Holocaust survivor and psychologist Stanislas Tomkiewicz “can have in itself a therapeutic value for the survivors”. Additionally, as noted by Tomkiewicz during the Nuremberg Trials, “every conviction was a boost in my morale, every act of repentance, like the one chancellor Brandt made as an example and every penny given to the victims and their successors by their headsmen eases the hatred of the other and creates the possibility of reconciliation, not only within yourself but also with the humanity everyone carries within himself. On the other hand, denial of justice, the questioning of the Holocaust and genocide, the “meekness” of German courts, the pseudo-amnesty in Chile and Argentina reopen old wounds, rekindle the sorrow, or in other words stir the neurosis within the psyche of the survivors, whatever their level of social readjustment”. From his standpoint, historian Enzo Traverso makes similar deductions claiming that “if the dialectics of amnesty and oblivion set in, before justice is restored, then memory will surface much later, charged with resentment. This resentment, born by a wounded memory can be translated into hatred or cause a new outbreak of violence”.

A post-conflict historical conscience can be approached only in correlation with the idea of reconciliation. However, as noted by Corine Defrance, as the ethical and political demand of reconciliation tends to acquire an idealistic and legal meaning, during the last decades, at the same time the danger of a cacophonic polyphony looms, ready to dissolve its meaning with the coexistence of incompatible idiolects (politicians, media, religions, specialists, philosophers and social scientists). The term is currently inveighed by two standpoints: Firstly, by those who talk about the “kitsch” of reconciliation pointing out its mundane function and, secondly, by those who fear that “reconciliation turns out to be the enemy of justice”, playing the role of a smokescreen.

Dear colleagues,

Where we stand today, it is our duty before we defend the achievements of the Didactics of History and the role of the history education in public life, before we continue to strive like Sisyphus towards their improvement, while resisting all forms of ideological manipulation, we must first and foremost defend our own field, History. It is known that, History, while at the same time experiencing an unprecedented boom, all over the world is plagued by its own inner disharmony and at the same time strangled by laws and the revisional policies for identity and memory, especially in the Central and Eastern Europe. These are policies that directly combat interpretative pluralism and the ideas of the freedom of opinion, historical justice and the European vision, as a whole. Let us not forget that the idea of a unified Europe blossomed, like the vines of Santorini, upon the ashes of destruction caused by Nazism on a greater scale and Stalinism on a smaller. A “European- fortress” cannot save the western civilization form the “barbarians” that the colonial West has created itself. No parting from the common European institutions can presage anything hopeful or optimistic. The enemy has already breached the gates and hides within certain aspects of ourselves. The annual report of the Network of Concerned Historians guided with self-denial and effectiveness by Antoon de Baets, stresses out the violations against the rights of historians and must become our compass and guiding star. In other words, we must protect ourselves, our field, our social role and our values. The Heirnet Network can act as a shield against the evil that is now advancing. We are now in the position of a defensive regrouping. However, it is exactly this vigilance that will create the terms for a new dominion of the real, a new hegemony. Truth is the sister of freedom, equality and fraternity.



Δευτέρα, 28 Μαΐου 2018

Πανοπτικόν- παρουσίαση


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η κινδυνολογία για τη δημόσια υγεία απέναντι
στη σεξουαλικότητα των παιδιών, των
εφήβων και των νέων: το ευγονικό “Πανοπτικόν”
στη χειμαζόμενη Ελλάδα του Μεσοπολέμου

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